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Straw and Hay (Paglia e Fieno)

Straw and Hay (Paglia e Fieno) - A simple, classic Italian dish of pasta, peas and prosciutto in a light Parmesan cream sauce.

Back when I was in college, my dorm was a few blocks away from a great little Italian restaurant called Cappucino’s, located in the Coolidge Corner section of Brookline, Massachusetts. On Sunday evenings, my roommate and I would skip eating in our dorm’s cafeteria, and instead, we’d take the “T” (Boston’s nickname for its public transportation system) up to Cappucinio’s for dinner!

In addition to enjoying their fantastic white sangria, it was at Capuccino’s that I first ate a classic, old-world Italian dish called Straw and Hay – or in Italian, Paglia e Fieno. Straw and Hay gets its name from yellow and green fettuccine that the dish is traditionally made from, and the pasta is tossed with peas and crispy bits of prosciutto in a simple Parmesan cream sauce.

Straw and Hay (Paglia e Fieno) - A simple, classic Italian dish of pasta, peas and prosciutto in a light Parmesan cream sauce.

To this day, Straw and Hay is one of my favorite dishes and anytime I see it on the menu at a restaurant, I order it to eat! Our version today substitutes egg noodles for the fettucine – but if you want a truly traditional dish, make this with a mix of egg and spinach fettuccine noodles.  But really, any type of thin, long pasta will work for this simple and delicious dish!

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Straw and Hay (Paglia e Fieno)

Straw & Hay - A Family Feast

Note: This recipe comes together very quickly so make sure you have all ingredients prepared and ready before starting to cook.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces egg noodles or pasta such as fettuccine, linguini or spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces salt pork, diced very small (see here)
  • ½ pound prosciutto diced into small pieces (stack slices and slice the long way into strips, then slice the opposite way into pieces)
  • 1 cup light cream, heated in microwave but not to a boil
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add noodles and cook to al dente. Drain and toss with melted butter.
  2. At the same time, in a large sauté pan over medium high, heat oil and salt pork and cook until crisp. Add prosciutto and cook until meat is crisp. Drain off fat and discard.
  3. Place cooked meat, cream, peas, pepper and half the cheese back into the pan and cook just to hot. Add buttered noodles and remaining cheese. Toss and serve.

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Comments

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  1. Good morning! Well, I confess I’ve never seen Straw & Hay on any menu before, so I guess I’ll have to make it. Very intriguing. It looks fantastic and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, you cannot go wrong with a cream Parm sauce! It will always tickle the taste buds. Ah, sigh, college, it was a blast but I would never go back =)

  2. Love this…prosciutto and parmesan cream! This looks perfect for a romantic Valentine’s dinner!

  3. Martha,
    This pasta looks delicious. I frequently have peas and prosciutto in my freezer (not the bag of peas for boo-boos, and the prosciutto is usually for pizza), so to me this is a dish I could whip up from pantry/kitchen staples.
    It looks so pretty with egg noodles, but I bet the colored fettuccine looked terrific as well.
    My undergrad was known for doughnuts . . .

    • Oh yes Kirsten – it looks especially pretty with the colored fettuccine…I just couldn’t find any at the store! Doughnuts are good too – especially the chocolate glazed! (My fav…) 🙂

  4. Yum! I always used to order this at an Italian restaurant where I grew up

  5. This looks fantastic. I will give it a try soon. Just wanted to weigh in on your first comment. Now that I have teens going off to college I would love to go too. Didn’t realize how fun it was when I was living it. This can be said of any faze of life. Plus in college I could skip lunch and lose weight. Today at 50 I have to do a week of boot camp and eat next to nothing just to maintain.

    • Thanks Sally – you are right – we never appreciate the phase of life we’re in until later. If I knew then what I know now, I’d gladly go back in time – and yes – losing weight was so much easier back then!

  6. This dish looks so colourful and enticing. Thanks for the detailed recipe

  7. I love Straw & Hay….so delicous and easy to make. Haven’t had it in awhile, but with this frigid blast we are having in Maine, this would be warm and comforting!

  8. I love just about anything with pancetta. That salty punch just adds such a burst of flavor to any dish! BTW, love your pictures, too–beautiful and engaging!

  9. I’ve never heard it called straw and hay before – but I have been making something similar for years. It’s hard to beat pasta with prosciutto and peas. DELISH

  10. I have some prosciutto in the fridge just waiting to be made into this dish!!! Thank you!

  11. This looks like such a comforting pasta dish! Lovely photos, too 🙂

  12. Looks like the ultimate comfort food. I’ve never been a big fan of egg noodles…I think I will use the fettuccine too!

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